I just came back from a trip to Los Angeles. I make this journey often (full disclosure: that's where my grammy lives), and every time I make sure to do my fabric sourcing in LA's famed “Fashion District.” For those of you interested in textile sourcing, you probably know that simply shopping at Fabric Depot becomes expensive quickly—too quickly to build a clothing company. We search for other means of sourcing fabrics, trims, rib knits, threads, and other materials, such as online wholesalers, jobbers at fabric expos, and deadstock outlets, but there isn't much, from a price-per-yard standpoint, that can beat the Fashion District of Los Angeles.
I was lucky last summer when Leah Stovel, from Make It Good Clothing, gave me the ultimate crash course in textile sourcing. In addition to taking me to LA's Fashion District, Leah introduced me to a domestic miller from whom she sources American-milled fabrics that are specifically made for her company. It was possibly the coolest and most informative trip of my life. Thanks, Leah! (Also: a serious tip of the hat to a clothing company like Make It Good that sources American-milled fabric).
For our clothing company (Mag-Big) however, and for many others, the fabric wholesalers in LA's fashion district will suffice, with a wide array of textiles to choose from. How they operate is they purchase end-of-production surplus fabric from larger companies (like Anne Taylor or Marc Jacobs) who have large scale industrial bolts developed for them, which they often have surplus of. When those companies finish production on their lines, they generally have huge amounts of yardage that can be purchased by wholesalers and jobbers who station themselves in fabric districts across the world.
The Los Angeles Fashion District occupies 110 blocks of downtown LA. Intermittently, there are dozens of florists, and the occasional hotdog or tamale stand. Just be a little careful: it's technically located in the skid row... Keep your wits about you.
We bought our fabric for our SS14 collection during this trip! We're super excited about it, and happy to say that the rate at which we bought it will enable us to price our garments in a “palpable” price bracket. So for all you who sew, and plan to take production more seriously, don't miss LA's Fashion District. It's the best resource we can use on the West Coast.